Companies

Roche rolls-out cluster strategy to cater to differing customer-needs

PT Jyothi Datta Mumbai | Updated on June 18, 2020 Published on June 18, 2020

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Expands partnership with Cipla, inks another with Entero Healthcare for cancer and nephrology products, respectively

Roche Pharma is rolling out a new “cluster” strategy across its India operations to focus attention on the differing needs of customers. The strategy will lead to fresh hiring, says V Simpson Emmanuel, the company’s India-head.

The country is mapped as 10 clusters, each with autonomous responsibilities and strategies, Emmanuel told Business Line. The strategy has just been introduced in the company and will be implemented over the next three months. “What might work for one State might not work for another,” he said, and the effort was to decentralise knowledge and pick up skills and apply them as required in the cluster, he said.

Its partnership with Cipla and Entero Healthcare for the distribution of cancer and nephrology drugs, respectively, also reflected this change, he said. The company has products already in India and there are others it wants to bring in, and the partnerships will help in reorienting its attention, he said.

The cluster strategy reflects the transformation happening in the parent-company as well, he said, and different countries were in different stages of making the change. Emmanuel was officially appointed as the head of Roche Products (India) earlier this month, but he has been in charge for about six months following the abrupt change at the helm after Lara Bezerra exited.

Cancer, nephrology pacts

Explaining the expanded Cipla partnership, he said, Roche’s key trademark oncology drugs,Trastuzumab (Herclon), Bevacizumab (Avastin) and Rituximab (Ristova), will be distributed by Cipla in India. Cipla has an existing alliance where it markets the same molecule, at the same price but with different brandname, he said. “The difference now is, Cipla would distribute Roche’s trademark brands of these molecules, as well, and it’s Cipla’s decision whether they would market them as one or two brands,” he explained. Roche would manufacture and import the drug, he said, only the marketing is being entirely shifted to the Cipla partnership, so Roche can focus on other products .

The partnership is on a revenue-sharing model, he said, adding that changes would not impact the company’s financials adversely. The company’s revenues are estimated at ₹500 crore in 2019-20.

People supporting these drugs in Roche would also be given the opportunity to move to the partnership and continue to be associated with the growth of the brand, he said, adding that alternatively they would be given the option of taking up the “many new posts” that were going to be created in the company, he said. And this opened up the opportunity for fresh hiring, he said, without giving details. At present, the company has over 2,000 people working across States and in various partnerships.

Roche and Cipla have an agreement, since February 2018, for the promotion and distribution of Tocilizumab (Actemra), used now in the treatment of Covid-19 and other products. Requests for the drug from some hospitals were being addressed by Cipla, Emmanuel said, adding that initial supply hitches had been ironed out and the drug was being supplied to India.

In its partnership with Entero Healthcare Solutions, the company was responsible for promotion, marketing and distribution of Roche Pharma’s nephrology products, Mycophenolate Mofetil (Cellcept), Valganciclovir (Valcyte), Epoetin Beta (NeoRecormon), and Methoxy Polyethylene Glycol-epoetin Beta (Mircera) in India. Entero is backed by OrbiMed, a global healthcare investment firm.

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Published on June 18, 2020
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